Separation can be one of the hardest things in life to experience. The person you once loved and trusted can become your most hated enemy. When children are involved, it is more important than ever to keep your emotions in check. Children who experience continuous high conflict between their parents can be impacted emotionally leading to learning, behavioural and social problems.
Below are some tips and tricks to help you survive separation, for the sake of your children:
Fake it ‘til you make it
As hard as it is to see your ex-partner at changeovers, school or sporting events, smile and say hello. Eventually, it will get easier. You don’t have to be best friends with your ex-partner, but remaining civil teaches children how to treat others when they don’t always get along.
Bite your tongue
If your ex-partner does something silly or is trying to provoke you, bite your tongue. You cannot control how they react, but if you take a moment to think if responding in the same manner will actually achieve a resolution, you can respond more constructively rather than going to war on small issues.
Keep it to yourself
Don’t publish on social media how much you dislike your ex-partner. Too often your ex-partner or their lawyer will see it and it may be used against you. Even if you have tight security settings, sometimes there is that friend who is not such a good friend, who is sitting there screenshotting everything to give it to your ex- partner. Worse still, your children may see it.
Let your children see you being positive about them seeing the other parent. If children know a parent will miss them when they are with their other parent, they can feel like it is their job to keep you happy and they may not enjoy their time with their other parent. It’s not your children’s job to keep you happy.
Don’t involve your children in arguments with the other parent, or let them know how much you don’t like the other parent. Your children are a product of both of you and saying negative things about the other parent can be seen by children that you hate a part of them.
Your children love both of their parents and no one can replace either of you. There is no winning or losing for parents, it’s your children who win or lose after separation. Winning to children can be as simple as spending quality time with each of their parents. Losing for children can be complex as they must choose who they love more and have to say negative things about the other parent to feel loved.
Whilst your relationship as a couple has ended, your relationship as parents will continue as your children get older, get married and have children of their own. For the years ahead, it is important to minimise and resolve as much conflict as possible, as early as possible.
When parents can see the bigger picture and have lawyers who focus on helping the family as a whole, separating as parents can be easier.